Friday, April 17, 2009

Full House for LWV Forum

About 100 people came out to hear school board candidates Thursday at the annual forum arranged by the League of Women Voters of Plainfield.

The large field - seven candidates for three three-year seats and three for a two-year unexpired term - has received unprecedented exposure this year, with online information added to the usual public forums and print media. Candidates for the three-year terms are incumbent Rasheed Abdul-Haqq, incumbent Patricia I. Barksdale, Brenda Gilbert, Mahogany Hendricks, Joanne Hollis, incumbent Lisa Logan-Leach and incumbent appointee Joseph Ruffin Sr.

Katherine Peterson, Tammy Westbrook and Terrence Williams are on the ballot for the two-year unexpired term.

The LWV of Plainfield also paid for a full-page ad on candidates' views that appeared Sunday in the Courier News. In addition, Mark Spivey did an overview. Click here to read it. Parents Empowering Parents also has individual posts on each candidate. Click here and go to "older posts" to read them.

Although campaign information reflects two slates, one perceived as being backed by the Democratic Party and the other by New Democrats, candidates involved played down the role of politics in the school board race, which is supposed to be non-partisan. The slates echo a power struggle between the two factions that will be played out in the June primary and the subsequent reorganization of the Democrats. Regardless of professed school board slates, voters can choose individuals as they see fit.

Plainfield may post more later, but other things take precedence today.

LWV of Plainfield President Herb Green commended the crowd of attendees Thursday and led a round of applause for member Arlene Cossum, who arranged for the ad and forum even while very busy making plans to relocate.

The election is Tuesday, April 21. Polls will be open from 2 to 9 p.m. All eligible voters should by now have received a sample ballot listing the candidates, hours, polling place and voting instructions. Speakers Thursday hoped for a large turnout as the school district enters a new phase of renewal and purpose under the leadership of Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III.

--Bernice Paglia


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